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Debating a Ban On Autonomous Weapons (thebulletin.org) 151

Lasrick writes: A pretty informative debate on banning autonomous weapons has just closed at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The debate looks at an open letter, published In July, 2015, in which researchers in artificial intelligence and robotics (and endorsed by high-profile individuals such as Stephen Hawking) called for 'a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.' The letter echoes arguments made since 2013 by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which views autonomous weapons as 'a fundamental challenge to the protection of civilians and to international human rights and humanitarian law.'

But support for a ban is not unanimous. Some researchers argue that autonomous weapons would commit fewer battlefield atrocities than human beings—and that their development might even be considered morally imperative. The authors in this debate focus on these questions: Would deployed autonomous weapons promote or detract from civilian safety; and is an outright ban the proper response to development of autonomous weapons?

Comment Re:My what? (Score 3, Informative) 38

Way back in the primordial ooze of the early-mid 2000's, MySpace actually gained initial notoriety as a place for musicians and bands to congregate. That was one (small) reason why it always had good media functionality (for the time)... Auto-play MP3's, highly visual backgrounds, CSS, etc. (The other 85% of the reason was so that people could post sparkly glitter GIFs...)

When it got re-purchased after Facebook took over both the upper and "lower" classes of the internet social media space, MySpace decided to try to get back to its roots somewhat as a band-catering destination.

Who knows if it'll ever succeed (again) at that, but the battle for general social media presence is long-since over, so they had to do something with it.


Drivers Need To Forget Their GPS 475

HughPickens.com writes: Greg Milner writes in the NYT that an American tourist in Iceland directed the GPS unit in his rental car to guide him from Keflavik International Airport to a hotel in nearby Reykjavik, and ended up 250 icy miles away in Siglufjordur, a fishing village on the outskirts of the Arctic Circle. Mr. Santillan apparently explained that he was very tired after his flight and had "put his faith in the GPS." In another incident, a woman in Belgium asked GPS to take her to a destination less than two hours away and two days later, she turned up in Croatia. Finally disastrous incidents involving drivers following disused roads and disappearing into remote areas of Death Valley in California have became so common that park rangers gave them a name: "death by GPS." "If we're being honest, it's not that hard to imagine doing something similar ourselves" says Milner. "Most of us use GPS as a crutch while driving through unfamiliar terrain, tuning out and letting that soothing voice do the dirty work of navigating."

Could society's embrace of GPS be eroding our cognitive maps? Julia Frankenstein, a psychologist at the University of Freiburg's Center for Cognitive Science, says the danger of GPS is that "we are not forced to remember or process the information — as it is permanently 'at hand,' we need not think or decide for ourselves." "Next time you're in a new place, forget the GPS device. Study a map to get your bearings, then try to focus on your memory of it to find your way around. City maps do not tell you each step, but they provide a wealth of abstract survey knowledge. Fill in these memories with your own navigational experience, and give your brain the chance to live up to its abilities."

Comment Re: Makes sense (Score 1) 162

Yep, that has been my experience. When I was in high school, in an accelerated/advanced science/math program, most of the kids were cheating on their lab reports. I had one teacher, in biochemistry, who really taught me the value of personal integrity. Most kids that was lost on, unfortunately. Surprisingly enough that lesson is what taught me to rely and adhere to principles, rather than doing whatever it takes to get ahead - I may not be rich, but I'm happy with who I am as a person.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the kids who went on to mostly cheat became ardent socialists, and I wound up an ancap.

Comment Re: Why is this a story? (Score 1) 85

New stories with back and forward references would make more sense. If you pull up a Slashdot story from Google and read it you'll never know there's a Slashback with an update or correction. A filter could be applied for exclusion or presentation changes based on tag from that point forward.

Put a feature request into the Soylent github - hopefully /. will finally go open-source under @whipslash's leadership.

[I'm expecting these tags will magically start working one day.]

Comment Re: Wow what a surprise... (Score 1) 93

The trouble with merely modding down comments like these down is we don't have a "long winded, no idea what he's talking about" mod.

This is simple crypto optimization, like happens every year. It's necessary and expected, and :shudder: anticipated by the designers of bitcoin (aside: stop looking for one man, stupid magazines).

Personally, I'm intrigued as I have a very old wallet I've forgotten the password to, and commission-based cracking services have been unable to touch it. Sadly, it's not worth much more than the EC2 time but it's a bur in my saddle to have it outstanding.

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